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On Twilight, Love and Life

by Jen on October 14, 2011

By Fiona McAllister

With compelling characters and storyline, no wonder Twilight Fever struck so many. But beyond the surface, we need to be careful about the messages we take from Stephenie Meyer's books about dealing with love and life.

Sometimes, relationships like Bella and Edward's can be so intoxicating that you just can't get enough of each other, and like them you want to spend every possible moment together. To a certain point this is okay, but when does it become unhealthy? Edward can be overbearing and extremely jealous of anyone being with Bella. Bella's whole identity becomes built upon her relationship with Edward, to the exclusion of almost anyone and anything else. Having a great relationship with your boyfriend of course includes doing fun things and spending time together, but you also need to make sure you have a healthy balance of time spent with friends, family, school (or work) and interests.

Since having a relationship end is very upsetting, you need to have healthy coping mechanisms. Bella does not. She goes practically catatonic for 3 months after Edward dumps her, and then engages in extremely and increasingly risky behavior, like taking a thrill ride on a motorbike with a complete stranger, and jumping off a cliff into the ocean, simply to have the hallucination of hearing Edward's voice. A relationship cannot be so all consuming that if it ends you having nothing left. Healthy coping includes things like talking with your friends, parents, or someone else who is close to you for support; taking time for yourself like going on walks or riding a bike because exercising can really help get those endorphins (the feel good hormone) going in your brain; and most importantly praying for strength and healing.

Bella and Edward also spend time together in ways before they are married that could lead down a risky moral path. Edward sneaks into Bella's room and goes to sleep with her in her bed behind her father's back. They also spend time making out to the point where Bella practically begs Edward to have sex with her, and only his resistance stops this from happening. Although possible to not have sex doing these activities, it is very unlikely. Keep yourself from the heartache by saving these interactions for your husband. Give your boyfriend hugs, warm hand holding, and goodnight kisses after a date.

Of most importance, is to take a look at how Edward and Bella build their relationship. It is based on physical attraction, belief of how the other person is too perfect for them, and unhealthy behaviour. Edward keeps the truth from Bella in order to "protect" her and they have an obsessive compulsion to spend time with each other. Bella even describes her relationship with Edward by saying that he is like a drug to her, and she is addicted. That will only take you so far in the real world.

On the other hand, Bella and Jacob build their relationship entirely differently. It is based upon common interests, friendship, loyalty, and of course physical attraction too. Bella has a comfortable companionship with Jacob. She describes him as her personal sunshine, and best friend, but most importantly Jacob is always upfront and honest with Bella. For lasting relationships to develop, both partners need to have shared interests, be comfortable with each other, have open an honest communication, friendship and mutual respect.

So ultimately? Go ahead and read the Twilight Saga; but carefully observe how Bella builds and works in her relationships with both Edward and Jacob, and think about which style is realistically going to bring a lasting and happy relationship.

Fiona McAllister is a young, married mom who is addicted to style and fashion. She also loves kids, exercising, dancing, and dating her husband. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology, with a focus in fashion and family. She writes freelance and lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Naomi October 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Smart article. When I read Twilight, I became as obsessed as Bella. I can be extremely vicarious when it comes to novels and I remember feeling so much through that book. It makes you excited, even for all the wrong reasons. But after I cooled down years later, I realised how twisted everything was and I lost touch with it. (I did come to appreciate Jacob more; honesty and companionship definitely go further than physical attraction.) But much of the story is quite immoral. 

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Eva October 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Awesome article and very straight forward.

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Isabel Geary November 7, 2011 at 11:06 am

I would love to share this on FB. U r right on here! I read the first two just to know what my students were talking about, but I had to stop because I was repulsed by the mindless dribble! ha! So many young people are actually believing that the obsessive compulsion is what LOVE looks like!!!

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Miel November 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I LOVED this article.  I, for one, could not understand how anyone, especially married woman and grandmothers could become obsessed with these books!  As a mother of teens, I was appalled at the messages that it sends to young women and men.  You are so right, behaving the way these books are written, will almost 100% get you in trouble. Guys don't have the kind of self control that Edward is supposed to have, in real life.  No teens should be acting like that.
I only read the first 2 books and was so disgusted I didn't read the last 2. I haven't watched any of the movies.  I told my older kids they could read them and discussed how wrong they are.  I've asked my younger teens (ie. 14 year old daughter) not to read them, especially at her age.
There are so many uplifting books out there that no one needs to waste their time and brain cells on these books!

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court November 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm

i totally agree. the books are totally cute-in parts-but i think it gives a false impression of acceptable moral behaviour. thanks for putting it out in the open.

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